‘The Breakfast Club’: Mind-Blowing Behind the Scenes Facts

The Breakfast Club came out several decades ago, yet it remains a classic to this day. John Hughes’ movie teaches audiences that every one of us is a brain, a princess, an athlete, a criminal, and a basket case. It’s safe to say modern movies wouldn’t be the same without Hughes’ influence.

To honor the film, here are some mind-blowing behind the scenes facts that will forever change the way you see The Breakfast Club. 

Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson in 'The Breakfast Club
Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson | The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Rick Moranis was supposed to play the janitor 

Rick Moranis is best known for his goofy roles in films such as Honey, I Shrunk the KidsGhostbustersLittle Shop of Horrors, and Spaceballs. Because he tends to tackle humorous parts in movies, he wanted to play the janitor in a completely different way than Hughes had envisioned. Susannah Gorah’s book, You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried, reveals how Moranis simply didn’t fit for the role.  

The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club | Steve Kagan/Getty Images

“Rick Moranis, then a major comedy star, was cast in the role. He wanted to play Carl for laughs, as a Ukrainian with gold teeth, an odd hat, and a heavy accent.

Because Moranis refused to play the role with depth, Hughes fired him and replaced Moranis with John Kapelos. 

Judd Nelson almost got fired because of the way he treated Molly Ringwald

Some people take method acting very seriously. Nelson is one of those people. While filming The Breakfast Club, Nelson was always in character. This meant he would give Ringwald a hard time, regardless of whether or not the cameras were still rolling. In a Reddit AMA, Molly Ringwald answers questions about her longstanding career. One Reddit user asks Ringwald if Nelson almost got fired because of his fowl treatment towards her. 

Ringwald answers,

“This is true. I think Judd was doing the method actor thing during rehearsals. He was wearing Bender’s clothes and trying to annoy me. I was fine, but John Hughes was very protective of me. We ended up having a powwow, led by Ally. I remember her telling me, ‘We have to get him focused. Like a laser!’ I think a bunch of us, including myself, called John and asked him to reconsider. I am thankful he did”.

Molly Ringwald was going to play Allison

Originally, Ringwald was going to play Allison, the gothic recluse. It’s hard to imagine the perky red-head playing anyone other than the princess, Claire, but Hughes originally planned for her to play the social outcast. Ringwald insisted that she play Claire, though, in an attempt to diversify her roles. (She had just played Samantha Baker in Sixteen Candles, a girl at the bottom of the food chain.)

John Cusack was going to play Bender and Joan Cusack was going to play Allison

The Cusacks are brilliant actors. But it’s safe to say the casting directors behind The Breakfast Club made the right choice by taking them out of the film. They simply wouldn’t fit in with the movie in the same way the finalized cast so effortlessly does.

While John was going to play the role of Bender, Joan was supposed to portray Allison. In Gorah’s book, Ringwald says, “that was the original Chicago cast.” Yet the two just weren’t right for the roles and were recast with Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy. According to Gorah’s book, John (Cusack) was incredibly upset that he didn’t get the role. 

The movie was filmed in a high school gym

Although the entire movie takes place in a library, the library at the school they were shooting in was way too small. So instead, they built a set in the gymnasium. According to Gorah’s book, They rented the entire school building for $25,000 a week. 

John Hughes made his actors spend time in high school before shooting


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While Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall were both still in high school during shooting, the rest of the cast mates had already graduated, being in their early to mid-20s. Because of this, Hughes had the cast spend time undercover at his old high school in an effort to prepare them for their roles.

Ally Sheedy had a rough time reliving the experience. In Gorah’s book, she admits, “I felt like I just wanted to be invisible when we were there. It didn’t bring back good memories, because I wasn’t happy in high school.” She later adds, “I think it was mostly to get the feeling of how horrible it really is- to make that fresh again.”